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No Golden Corral for Christmas. Here’s when it may open
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Golden Corral is seen under construction Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, at the intersection of Pearl Nix and Jesse Jewell parkways. The long-awaited restaurant will open on March 11. - photo by Scott Rogers

Golden Corral won’t be open for Christmas, afterall.

The long-awaited restaurant off Browns Bridge Road and Pearl Nix Parkway in Gainesville now should be open by mid-January, Florida-based franchisee Eric Holm said Wednesday, Nov. 28.

“I just don’t want to push it for December,” he said. “There’s a lot of moving parts to it. We want to make sure we’re all good and ready there.”

Holm said in a July interview he had hoped to open the buffet-style eatery by Christmas.

“That would would be a great time to open,” he said at the time.  “Everybody is out shopping … and having family time together, so that would be awesome.”

“Normal stuff pops up,” he said Wednesday, speaking of delays. “(Mid-January) should be for sure. There shouldn’t be any ifs, ands or buts on that.”

The restaurant — Holm’s 33rd Golden Corral overall and 19th in Georgia — is well under construction in the corner of Gainesville Towne Center, which is anchored by a Big Lots store.

The project dates to May 2016 with the announcement Golden Corral was proposing a restaurant at the old site of the Folks restaurant. Golden Corral will be twice the size of Folks, which had been open 34 years when it was torn down in late 2016.

Holm has said opening the restaurant was taking longer than expected because it is the second of its kind based on a prototype.

The first restaurant opened in Greensboro, N.C., in December 2017, and after seeing some of what has worked and not worked there, changes were made to the plans for the Gainesville restaurant.

Holm has estimated the new Golden Corral should bring about 100 jobs.

He has said the prototype is a “scattered buffet” format with the tables and chairs less crowded to make for a “more comfortable dining experience.”

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